Flying car idea finally takes flight

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by NC MacGuy, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

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    #1
    I always wanted one of these since seeing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang:

    http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2009/...e-blogging-from-the-boston-museum-of-science/

    From linked article:
    "Well, true to Dietrich’s word, Terrafugia conducted its first flight in secrecy, at 7:40 a.m. on March 5. But it’s only revealing that fact to the world today, in a dramatic press conference taking place at this hour at the Boston Museum of Science, where a prototype of the Transition is on temporary exhibit. [I'm adding details from the press conference below, as well as videos of the first flight on the second page of this story.]"

    Another story with more video:
    http://wbztv.com/local/Flying.Car.transition.2.962132.html
     
  2. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #2
    Cool. Probably would be the filed under the too expensive for the average person though...

    Probably need a pilot's license too. Doesn't seem like it's an ultra-light.

    Was going to say no landing video but looks like they get off the ground for a few seconds and land again.
     
  3. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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  4. NC MacGuy thread starter macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

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    #4
    They took off and landed seven times. $194k ain't all that bad considering.:D
     
  5. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

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    #5
    $194,000 is actually pretty cheap for a brand new airplane, especially one that you could drive home and not need to rent a hanger for.

    Would you really want someone who is untrained flying in the airspace above you? (partaking in all of the bad habits of regular driving)

    It only has two seats, so if it is light enough it may qualify as a Light Sport Aircraft which has a less costly and easier to get pilot certificate requirement (looks like the article covers this, too). And speaking of certificates, you do also have to get certified to fly ultralights. It is self-policed in the same way that scuba diving and parachuting are by a private organization rather than by the government but you still have to get trained, mainly so you don't kill yourself. Regular airplanes, being bigger, heavier, and faster require more training so you don't kill someone else. This thing, being a small car, looks to fit in the bigger and heavier category to me.
     
  6. Antares macrumors 68000

    Antares

    #6
    That's technically not a flying car....it's a drivable plane. It's primary purpose is to fly, driving is secondary. A flying car's primary purpose is to drive, while flying is secondary.

    You still need an airport runway to take off and land (for normal operation, not emergencies). I'll be interested in a "flying car" when I don't need to go to an airport to take off and land.
     
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #7
    Yes but for $25,000 you can have a rather nice older real airplane and the $169,000 you save will pay for a LOT of car rental and tiedown fees.

    This is really the biggest "problem" in the light plan industry, the fact that older planes are about as good as new ones but cost like 8 times less, that and the total market is shrinking. They just can't sell many new planes

    This is a "roadable" plane. The only hard part about building this is meeting two different sets of government regulations at the same time. On the other hand a true "flying car" can fly from door to door. It is the "door to door" part that makes cars so usfull and prefered over public transportation.

    The big technical problem with flying cars is "control". There is no way one Earth the average person could learn to fly. There is no way my grandmother is going to understand why the throttle is mounted to the dashboard and way pushing it forward makes you go "up" and not faster. No, the flying car will have to be voice operated with no controls other then a mic. You just say "Take me to work" and off you go.
     
  8. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

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    #8
    Let me know where you can get a rather nice airplane for $25,000 (and what your definition of rather nice is). Last time I looked in Trade A Plane for a simple Piper PA-28 with modest (non-IFR) instruments the cheapest ones were going for $69,000. And that was with high TT and TSMOH. The first annual wasn't going to be pretty. Of course with the economy where it is, maybe that has changed...
     
  9. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

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    #9
    Well, $25K is a little on the low side for *my* taste, however the market really has dropped out of the used plane market. Here's a plane that I bet the owner would sell for $35,000, and it looks nice:

    http://www.controller.com/listings/...682.htm?guid=721FB951FDFC432095120126C888667B

    Here's an overall list of Cherokee 140s for sale on Controller:

    http://www.controller.com/listings/...catID=6&guid=721FB951FDFC432095120126C888667B
     
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #10
    The last thing I'd go all ghetto on is an airplane. If it's old enough to be worth $25k, I'd probably not feel very safe in it. I don't know if that's true or not, but that's how I'd feel, and my perception is important too.


    I want to be a Jetson. I can't "Jetson" in this car.
     
  11. jizwood1 macrumors member

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    #11
    Look Out, Jetsons: Flying Car Is Here!

    Look Out, Jetsons: Flying Car Is Here!

    It's a car with airplane-like wings.
    Not the prettiest (or safest) thing in the world, but hey, a starts a start. =)
    .....now where are my Giant Robots? =S
     
  12. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #12
    As the article says, a roadable airplane, not a flying car. Nobody has ever been able to make this concept workable, which hasn't stopped people from trying for at least 60 years now. The biggest problem is (aside from the cost) that the result is neither a good airplane nor a good car.
     
  13. mcavjame macrumors 65816

    mcavjame

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    #13
    Great. And at only $194,000 I can buy one for me and the missus.
     
  14. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #14
    I find it hard to believe that there will ever be a craft that can economically (by airplane standards, even) be safe, street legal, airworthy, and practical. Cars need to have all sorts of crash protection provisions, and these all add weight, which is the enemy of aircraft design. Planes have no crash protection other than seatbelts in order to save weight. Most small aircraft engines are air cooled (to save weight) and have carburetors (if it ain't broke, don't fix it). Neither of these 1930s technologies are very well suited to stop and go traffic. The engines also have to be strong enough to reliably produce high power at low RPMs (2500 or so). Any higher and the prop tips start to go supersonic.

    I find the flying car concept intriguing but highly improbable.
     
  15. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601

    themoonisdown09

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    #15
    I can imagine how chaotic it would be if everybody had a flying car. No roads, no traffic signals or stop signs.
     
  16. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

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    #16
    I just want the model that folds up into a briefcase. :)
     
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #17
    The Rotax engine being used in this aircraft is fuel injected, as are most newer airplane engines. It's also much higher in RPMs than the old-fashioned conventionally aspirated engines used in most general aviation airplanes before the 1980s or so.

    Any production airplane requires a Certificate of Airworthiness from the FAA. They are both time-consuming and expensive to obtain, which is why most of these pipe dream airplanes never get off the ground, so to speak.

    Anybody who flies one of these things is going to need a pilot's license.
     

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